When you see a fine ruby, it does something to you. It’s not about the value.
If it were simply the value, I’d go out and buy a kilo of gold. Richard Hughes to journalist Rod Nordland
“On the treacherous trail to the rare ruby red” | 1982 | Asia
Lotus Gemology begins with a simple idea – beauty is the principal source of attraction for precious stones. Thus it should also be the major focus of gemology. In other words, the GEM is the most important part of gemology.
It is our belief that gemology is not simply about counting atoms; to apply science absent a discussion of how it relates to aesthetics and desire does a disservice not just to clients, but to the jewels themselves. We do not believe that attraction can be reduced to a simple set of measurements, anymore than the beauty of a rainbow or sunset can be expressed by mathematical formula.
Rest assured, we are not Luddites. We not only appreciate science, but use it daily. At the same time, we recognize that many parts of the human experience extend into realms far beyond science. Thus the gemology at Lotus includes not just science, but weaves into the mix history, culture, art and travel. We do this in the belief that these factors play equal roles in how humans perceive desirability and value.
Like a small French restaurant, we believe that crafting a fine meal takes time and individual care; thus our seating is limited. The translation of the intangibles of rarity and aesthetic beauty is our strength.
Precious stones are among the most compelling examples of Mother Nature’s artistic genius.
Lotus Gemology operates from a base of over 80 years of collective experience in the study, purchase, sale and appreciation of precious stones. Our lives have been enriched beyond measure by our involvement with these gifts of nature and we believe if we characterize them with the appropriate reverence and care, we can open this magical world to others. This is our goal.
The history of the Black Prince's Ruby, one of the world's most famous precious stones.
An essay on buying gems at the source in Asia, with a discussion of how con men play on the greed of those who believe gems will be cheaper at the mines.
Developing a comprehensive colored stone grading system has been the dream of gemologists since the late 1970's, but despite a number of valient attempts, we are no closer to the goal today than we were four decades ago. This article examines the various problems of colored stone grading, explaining why the challenges are at least an order of magnitude greater than the grading of diamonds.
Richard W. Hughes | 1990
Rubies and sapphires are widely considered to be among the most sought after and precious of gems. Together they account for over fifty percent of the world trade in colored gemstones. This book is the first from Richard Hughes on the subject, and the first major work to be devoted entirely to the corundum family of gemstones. It covers all aspects of rubies and sapphires, beginning with their history, chemical and physical properties. Other chapters look at treatments, synthetic corundums, methods of fashioning, famous rubies and sapphires, formation of corundum deposits and world sources, providing a valuable reference source for jewelers, gemologists, students, and the general reader.
Out-of-print. Click here to search for a copy
Color types such as "pigeon's blood," "Paraíba" and "cobalt blue" have become wildly popular in the gem trade. But there is a vast difference between coining such terms and applying them in a way that is both consistent and logical. Richard Hughes casts a critical eye on the subject.
Diamond: An Early History of the King of Gems by Jack Ogden, 2018. Yale University Press, New Haven and London, www.yalebooks.com/www.yalebooks.co.uk, 388 pages, illus., ISBN 978-0-300-21566-3. $40 hardcover.
Experience the hidden world of ruby & sapphire in this exhibition with Lotus Gemology and Van Cleef & Arpels' L'École School of Jewelry Arts
Since the late 1960's, East Africa has been home to some of planet earth's greatest gem discoveries. And yet, little has been written about certain of these finds. In the autumn of 2007, the authors set out to fill in the gaps, specifically regarding Tanzania's Mahenge, Songea and Tunduru regions.
The role of fiber-optic lighting in gemological microscopy.
A discussion of the flux-healing treatment of rubies. This article was given the Richard T. Liddicoat Journalism Award by the American Gem Society in 2005.
Why should Hugh Hefner be the only one to enjoy twins? This special Hyperion Inclusion Gallery features images from the Lotus Gemology Hyperion Inclusion Database, but are shown as pairs, all the better to compare one form of beauty with another.
Many gemologists have difficulty mastering the direct-vision spectroscope. This article eases the pain.
The ethics of gem enhancement disclosure.
Lotus Gemology's gemologists have lectured extensively about a wide variety of gemological topics including ruby, sapphire, jade, and more.
One of the greatest gemological challenges is determining if a ruby or sapphire has been heat treated. UV fluorescence can assist in that identification, as well as detecting fillers in emerald.
The Thai city of Chanthaburi (จันทบุรี) may be small, but it has played an important role in both the history of Thailand and the gem trade. Taking its name from the Sanskrit word for moon ('chan'), this petite town is among the most charming in the Land of Smiles.
Introducing the blue filter as a gemological tool to separate natural and Verneuil synthetic yellow sapphires.
For those who wish to explore the literature of inclusions in gemstones further, we have selected the following articles and books that are of particular merit. Most of these are cited in the Lotus Gemology Hyperion Inclusion Database, but are listed below in a more convenient summary format. Many of the links will allow you to download a PDF copy of the original article.
Inside Out: GEM•ology Through Lotus-Colored Glasses
E. Billie Hughes | Richard W. Hughes | Wimon Manorotkul
with a foreword by Paolo Minieri
Chinese translation by Jason C.H. Kao (高嘉兴), with Jinding Yu (俞瑾玎) and Bonnie Chao (晁艳)
From the dawn of time, precious stones have both attracted and fascinated humans in ways that few other items could. For while objects of desire are found throughout the natural world, physical beauty is too often ephemeral. From the allure of a man, woman, flower or butterfly, through the fleeting moments of a sunset, there is little that lasts and practically nothing that can be passed down to our descendants. The exception is precious stones. Not only are they the most durable creations of Mother Nature, but their visual splendor is truly eternal.
This book presents a completely fresh approach to the subject. Dubbing it humanistic gemology, the authors take readers around the world, showing the places they have explored in their search for gems, along with the people and cultures encountered along the way.
Within this volume, remarkable photographs of the human world are interwoven with images of the microscopic realm of the gems themselves. In a lifetime beset by time control, where living is broken into ever smaller bits, as you browse through these pages suddenly you plunge into a domain of frozen time, one that affords vistas of millions or even billions of years. For jewels offer not just superficial beauty, but a window on the primordial forces that birthed both our planet and universe.
Inside Out – Gemology Through Lotus-Colored Glasses represents a fascinating new direction for gemology, linking the external and internal worlds of precious stones for the first time.
Published 2020; Now shipping
Standard Edition – Hardcover
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152 pages; 270 x 360 mm (10.6 x 14.2 inches); 2.5 kg shipping weight
Full Color Throughout | Bilingual text in English & Simplified Chinese
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Sample Interior Spreads
A few comments from reviewers…
I am doubtless readers both inside and outside of the gem trade will enthusiastically welcome Inside Out. Buy it, read it, give it away. I am fully confident you will be satisfied, ingratiated and inspired.
Jeffery Bergman – InColor Magazine
This book fills a gap in the literature on gems by pictorially exploring the relationship between humans and gems on an artistic and emotional level. It is a work of art that lives from the quality of the photographs and gets by with minimal textual commentary on the images.
Michael Hügi – Journal of Gemmology
Inside Out is a truly stunning work reflecting the combnied personalities, skills, knowledge and philosophy of the authors, who have created something exceptional and innovative for the world of gemmology.
Terry Coldham – Australian Gemmologist